Saturday, March 5, 2011


I think most of us are always trying to think of ways to help our kids in school and help them learn useful skills that will increase their test scores and grades.

I decided to try something new. Spelling and Vocabulary isn't exactly very fun but I decided I was going to put these words in a place that you can't miss!

I researched vocabulary words on the Internet that would be age appropriate for my kids. Since my kids are so close in age it actually works out really well since the words they are learning are very similar.

I think printed out these pictures on bright noticeable paper.

I gave them a definition and for words that don't sound anything like they look I also gave them a "sounds like".

When possible I try to give them an example in a sentence as well as synonyms.

I post the sheet on the refrigerator.

Think about it, how many times do our kids go to the refrigerator? A LOT!
I figure just from sheer repetition some of this has to sink into their absorbing brains!

I am keeping these sheets in a folder and switching out the words every 3-4 days. I will keep the words and just continue to rotate them in every now and then.

I often struggle with "mommy guilt" because I work outside the home and I often feel like I do not get to devote enough time helping them with expanding their minds even beyond the have-to homework assignments.

I would love to hear your ideas! Please share any fun activities you do to help your kids learn!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Life Savers

I am sure you all have read that poem about how we have friends come and go in our lives for a reason for a season and so on and so forth. I think it is a great poem and I really believe that this is true too.

I often tell my friends that are having kids for the first time to make sure they keep close with their mommy friends and make sure they ask lots of questions. If it weren’t for my mommy friends I think sometimes I might just lose my mind.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love all my friends even those without kids and they bring a very important side to me out and they offer a lot to my life as well. But there are times that I need my mommy friends. We are all at different stages and it really helps so much to bounce off ideas and how you are feeling to know you aren’t going crazy and you aren’t going to ruin your kids forever!

My first mommy friend - My Sister Brooke! I am not sure what I would do if I couldn’t call my sister every day!

This was from a trip when my sister came out to visit me for a girls weekend! We are at Tombstone, AZ here.

Our kids are stair stepped so they go like this Cody (my oldest) 12 (1/2), Anna (her oldest) 11 (1/2), Haley (my youngest 10 (will be 11 in 15 days!) and Abby (her youngest) 10.

This was a long time ago but a really good pic of all them together!
We are always bouncing ideas off and reminding each other that our parents are still around so obviously we didn’t kill them and didn’t put them in a crazy house! She’s my older sis but she is also my best friend and mommy friend!

Then I have Mindy! I refer to Mindy by lots of different names but often times she is my saving grace!  I love that she has already been through the stages before me and I know that no matter what and no  matter how brutal she will be honest with me and tell me if I am screwing up as a parent. She will also tell me if I am being too soft and reminds me that it isn’t just me. I love her and just don’t know what I would do without her friendship. Mindy has stood in for me when Cody needed to go to the Dr. when he was sick and I was out of town on business and Mike was at work. Mindy has met me at the airport to take my kids so I could run to work and not have to take another vacation day after flying across the country -- I think there are too many to list! Thank you Mindy!

Mindy and I on vacation in Phoenix
Eve is one of my mommy friends that I have been friends with the longest. I love to know that I can call or text Eve about the  most ridiculous thing that my kids have done and she doesn’t judge me and she just reminds me of all the crazy things her kids do too. She always makes me feel better and she can always make me LOL seriously.  Eve took care of my kids for days when Michael collapsed his lung and was in the hospital for 8 days. I didn’t have to worry. Eve and Mindy took Haley to her music performance the night of my eye surgery. So many to list! Thank you Eve!

Eve and I at the Ugly Christmas Sweater  Party!
Teresa is one of my mommy friends that I made when I first moved out to AZ.  We have kids that are similar in age but she has so much mommy experience since she has 5 kids and I love to hear all of her ideas! She was a stand in momma for Haley in 4th grade since Haley had a student council meeting and  needed a parent present and I had a previous engagement that I couldn’t miss. Teresa came running over when I was at the store and all the smoke alarms went off and the kids were home. Gosh so many memories! Thank you Teresa!
Teresa and I are rocking it out at Cody's 11th Birthday party themed for the 70's, 80's, and 90's!
Nikki is one of my friends that is probably one of the newest mommies that I know!  There were some issues about 28 weeks into her pregnancy and she was in the hospital which seemed like forever until she had her gorgeous baby girl! She is such a great new mommy! I love experiencing the joys of babies through her eyes! Thank you for all the times you have listened to me, helped me, and met with me for a girls lunch! It was such an honor and blessing to be in the hall when you delivered your gorgeous precious baby girl!
Nikki and I after a make-up  makeover!

Tess is one of my other mommy friends that is fairly new to the  mommy world! Her son (my God Son) will be turning 2 in a couple of weeks and it is amazing how quickly time flies! It has been amazing watching her too become a mother and experience the joys and highs and lows that come with having a baby and now a toddler! Tess is expecting her second baby (A GIRL!!!) Thank you Tess for all the times you came and got my kiddos for a night or two to give us some reprieve. Thank you for all the help with my princess' room! I am so honored you chose me to be the God Mom!
Tess and I leaving our girls weekend

Jen is my longest mommy friend (other than my sis). Jen and I have known each other since I was 18 years old when I moved to KS. Both of us have many experiences in common like moving, moving, moving, continually supporting our husbands in their field of work. Our friendship stood the test of both of us moving internationally, her to Germany, me to Panama and Puerto Rico. We grew up, had more kids, moved back to the States, and then found ourselves living in the same city 10 years later. Thank you Jen for all the times you helped with my kids, listened to me vent, helped when Mike was in the hospital, you name it how can I say thank you enough?
Jen and I celebrating at our first Halloween Party in Arizona!

Now, I wasn't able to list every single mommy friends that is important to me. My blog isn't nearly long enough!  I have so many mommy friends! It is amazing and I am blessed to have so many that I can't nearly list them all in this blog. I love you all - you all bring something important and special to my life and I believe having mommy friends is what really keeps us grounded, connected, and honestly keeps us from losing our minds!

BIG SHOUT out to my mommy friend Erin! I love you girl! You are an awesome mom and it has been a pleasure and honor to watch you grow as a person and obtain goals that seemed impossible at times! I wish I had a picture of us on my computer!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Free Gourmet Entrees Cat Food Sample

Free Gourmet Entrees Cat Food Sample

The Ugly Truth!

Ok - I can't believe I am actually going to blog about this or let's say I can't believe I am going to post the pics to go along with it but I find it THAT important to tell you about this at my expense.

When we were in middle and high school we were plagued with zits and acne and I remember I couldn't wait for the day that all stopped and I had beautiful glowing skin. My twenties were pretty good with the occasional flare up here and there but overall really good.

THEN I hit my 30's! I couldn't believe it but it was almost like overnight 3 years ago when I started breaking out again and WAY worse than when I was in my teens. Who would think at nearly 33 years old I would have more acne than my tweens!

After suffering with some horrible acne and these places that were so painful and horrible looking I went to a dermatologist. While seeing the Dr. she prescribed me a routine of medications (which I highly suggest seeing a Dermatologist) and she said I can use the zit zapper if you would like. I said sure! I mean it sounded amazing she said it would reduce and practically eliminate these acne cysts within 24-48 hours!

As the asked the nurse to get the zit zapper out I noticed they pulled out a syringe and I about freaked! I NEEDLE going in my FACE!?!?!?!

Needless to say after the Dr. told me to quit being a baby I came to love and cherish the fact that I can go in if I need to get cyst injections and sure enough within about 24 hours the zit is almost gone! I am not talking about a regular zit but these horribly, painful, cysts that take weeks to go away.

So this past Monday evening I felt a place coming up on my face - smack dab middle between my eyes! Bulls eye anyone? Tuesday I worse a hat to work and had the worst headache and it was so swollen. Wednesday morning it wasn't any better so I decided to get an appointment.


Although this picture is gross enough - it looked SO MUCH Worse in person!!
It was definitely a hat day a few days in a row! It didn't totally cover it but I hoped it would kind of hide it and I kind of hid out in my office at work.

I went into my dermatologist office and I actually didn't see the Dr. but I saw the aesthetician instead and I pay a flat rate of $30.00 regardless of the number of injections she has to do.

For this horrible place in the middle of my face there were actually 3 cysts so she did 3 different injections. I want to EMPHASIZE that this is not painful. Because the cyst acne is already sensitive to touch one of the injections was uncomfortable and that is stretching to say that. But it does NOT hurt! There were 2 smaller places on my face and she went ahead and injected these as well.

So less than 24 hours later the cyst is already looking WAY better and I am not wearing a hat today!

I know this is a very embarrassing subject and I can't believe I am putting up pictures but I want to let other women know if you are suffering with adult acne and specifically this cyst acne there are things the doctors can do to help you. In a way I look at this $30.00 as a splurge but at the same time I look at it as a medical expense and honestly makes me feel physically better and internally and emotionally better. So next time you have a break out call the dermatologist and see what they can do for you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Boogity Boogity Boogity!!

Boogity Boogity Boogity - Let’s go racing!
This weekend we took a small vacation up to Scottsdale and then went to the Nascar races on Sunday. Mike and I both really enjoy watching Nascar and introduced Cody back in the fall and this time Haley was going to her first Nascar race!
We started the weekend off staying at an awesome resort - please see my post about being honored and humbled. We went to eat at Benihana’s -- LOVE IT!!!! We had such a great time!
The next day the kids and I went shopping at the Scottsdale Fashion Square while Mike decided to chill at the resort.
We checked out some of Cody’s favorite things.
Saw a shirt that was crudely funny and we thought Dad would like it since he is addicted to angry birds and he will actually admit to it.
We stopped by one of Haley and Cody’s favorite places - yes Starbucks! I know I am a crazy mom that lets her kids drink coffee drinks. I figure can’t be worse than soda and they don’t get it often so it’s not going to hurt them.
Then on Sunday we headed off to the races. Lucky me I got to drive in all the race traffic but we had a blast!
I went all out and totally looked like a true Nascar fan now that I have my scanner! For those of you that may not be aware of Nascar the scanner is totally awesome because I can listen to the pit crews and the drivers talking back and forth - AWESOME!
Cody and Haley both took turns as well listening and enjoyed the race. I am not sure they enjoyed it as much and Mike and me but they said they did like it.

I always enjoy when we take family weekends. It isn’t always easy on the checkbook but I know that weekends like this will be what the kids remember. Not the toys or extras but the fun times we shared and laughed about as a family!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Are You Running Out of Gas?

Are you running out of Gas? Or maybe just buying gas to put in your car makes you want to run outside and scream! I know that we are all feeling the pinch as the gas prices start to climb. I drive a Jetta and I actually get really good gas mileage around 28-32 mpg.

My husband on the other hand drives a Ford F150 Supercab and as you can imagine he doesn't get such good gas mileage. I honestly haven't even asked him but he has to fill up about once a week and this last time it was over $72.00! So when it takes more money to fill the gas tank something else will have to give. I saw this picture and thought it was great and wanted to share!
I was totally cracking  up when I saw this picture but it really does feel this way sometimes when we are left standing at the pump. I wanted to share some advice I have received over the years and some of this information can be found on many websites if you just google about conserving gas.

  1. First make sure you have taken any unnecessary weight out of your car. I used to have all sorts of junk in my trunk (lol) but I then took it out when I realized that it was more weight to drive around and I would burn more gas.
  2. Make sure you know where the cheapest gas is sold. There are 2 places right beside where I work and one was selling the lowest grade for $3.39 a gallon and the one across the street was $3.09 a gallon! That can really start to make an impact over time.  Just in one fill up for my husbands 24 gallon take it would be a difference of $7.20 which over the course of a month is a difference of $28.80 which is enough savings to fill up my car once that month. So when you expand over a year that is a lot of savings.
  3. Check your air filter. I try to be a responsible car owner but I will admit that is one thing I often count on my husband for. I hadn't changed it in forever and he got on me about it. When I got it replaced my gas mileage increased from about 23 mpg to about 28-32 mpg.
  4. I do keep a check on my tire pressure just because you should but I have also been told that this can effect your gas mileage so ladies (and gents) keep an eye on your tire pressure!
  5. Combine your shopping trips. I have to do this alot and I will be honest when gas isn't so bad sometimes I don't give as much thought and I should. However, because I live a good distance outside the city I try to think of everything to do at once. And honestly I try to do it while I am already in town at work. I do like to get out on the weekends but I have been trying to cut that down (1) because of gas prices and (2) unnecessary shopping is spending money I should be trying to save. So make a list of all the place you know you need to go to during the week and try to work out a system so there is as little back tracking as possible.
  6. Everyone always talks about this but it is TRUE - CARPOOL, if you can of course. It is very difficult for me to carpool because with kids I feel like I need to be ready to leave at a moments notice if they get sick, hurt, etc. However, carpooling can drastically cut down on the expense of gas plus it is better for our environment.  Michael really tries to carpool when he can but lately it hasn't been as feasible but I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will be able to at least once a week because it does add up.
I am sure there are a lot more tips and tricks out there and I encourage you to check into it. It saves your wallet and it saves the environment. I always love hearing your ideas so if you have some good ones please pass them on. If we are paying $3.39 in February can you imagine what June and July will be like?!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Honored and Humbled

Back at Christmas I brought my parents up to Scottsdale, Arizona to enjoy the experience and see how beautiful the area was. I wanted my parents to feel like they were actually on vacation and not just visiting family.

We had a great time spending time with each other but our experience was less than we had wished it was due to numerous inconveniences at our hotel. At first I didn't say anything to the hotel because they were seriously small things but over the several days we were here they really started to add up.

One instance in particular really upset me because I had specifically told the hotel about the mini bar being removed from one of our rooms and was assured that we would not be charged. About a week later I was checking my statement and BAM! there it was a charge from the hotel.

At that time I decided I wanted to inform the hotel/resort of all the issues we had while visiting. I constructed a professional letter just explaining our experience and provided constructive feedback.

The response I received from the resort/hotel was welcoming and appreciative of my comments and they assured me that many of the suggestions I made had already been implemented and offered to provide us with a weekend to try the experience again since changes had been made. Although this is not what we were seeking out we said we would be honored to take them up on their offer. The front end operations manager said he would try to upgrade us the closer it got to our arrival.

Did he EVER! Upon arrival he advised they had a cancellation so they were putting us up in the Presidential Suite.

The Living Room Area

The Dining Room Area

Master Bedroom with Fireplace
The Master Bathroom - seriously my dream bathroom with a whirlpool jetted tub with glass enclosure and shower. There is a separate glass enclosed shower and the room is lined with mirrors and lights which is awesome when doing your make up! The closet is enormous! There is another bathroom with another glass enclosed shower!

Because the Presidential Suite only has one bedroom with a king bed they also provided us with the adjoining room with 2 queen beds and another bathroom for the kids. There was a full functioning kitchen, 2 fireplaces and a balcony.

We just couldn't believe the generosity and we were humbled by someone else's generosity to provide us with a better experience then we had before just because I had chosen to give constructive feedback. We were so curious about how much something like this costs and when I checked it online I couldn't believe what I saw. For us to stay in the accommodations we have been able to enjoy it would have ran us $4600.00!

Again, we are honored to think that someone really took into consideration the feedback we provided and we are humbled that anyone would go this much out of their way to provide us with an experience of a lifetime! I only hope that I can pay it forward to someone else!